Thin Line Between Stupid and Clever

Opining on Whatever

Just Another Review-Slash by Slash w/Anthony Bozza

slash biography coverSlash by Slash with Anthony Bozza
Published October 30, 2007

Slash is the autobiography of, well, Slash, written with Anthony Bozza. If you know anything about Slash then you know the highlights of his story: Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, drugs, sex, Axl Rose. Those are the things you read an autobiography of Slash for and those are the things you receive in large doses. This is not The Beatles Anthology. You will not get an in-depth description of the creative process that surrounded each song on Use Your Illusion II. You’ll find Slash much more in line with Life by Keith Richards. This is a story about dealing with an enigmatic (to say the least) lead singer, drugs, women, more drugs, and more women. This is not a bad thing.

Early on Slash suffers, as all autobiographies do, with too much time spent on Slash’s childhood. One’s childhood, is always infinitely more important and interesting to the person who lived it than to anyone who is reading or hearing about it. Slash’s childhood stories are more interesting than most, but that’s a low bar. I wish all autobiographies would cut the childhood stories down to no more than one chapter, but I know that’s wishful thinking.

Things pick up quickly when Guns N’ Roses begin to come together. Guns was easily the biggest band in the world for a short period of time and the behind the scenes stories are fascinating. With all the turmoil that has surrounded the eventual breakup of the band and the strangeness of Axl Rose, it’s easy to forget that this was the band that released Appetite for Destruction. Slash does a wonderful job of providing interesting, and often hilarious, storytelling of the time period from Guns’ formation to the blowout success of Appetite. This was the beginning, and, sadly, the apex of the band’s career.

Then there are the sex and drugs. Slash shies away from neither here, even in cases when you wish he would. Whether it’s stray ejaculate from Izzy Stradlin or persistent genital warts, few sexual details are spared. Guns N’ Roses were rock stars and they had rock star sex lives. They also had rock star drug lives. Slash is considered one of the more decadent rock stars in history and this definitely comes through here. The book starts with a description of the pacemaker keeping him alive after years of partying, and never lets up from there. Slash has gone through serious battles with heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and often all three at once. While these stories can be entertaining, Slash doesn’t shy away from the damage caused. He recognizes that many of those caught up in the Guns N’ Roses storm were unable to ever pull themselves out, including some of the band members themselves.

The last part of Slash focuses on his post Guns career with Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver. This book was released shortly after Velvet Revolver’s second album was released, so the book ends on somewhat of a high note. However, Velvet Revolver has since broken up and been on a seemingly endless hiatus with rumors swirling around the breakup that sound eerily similar to many that came out of the Guns breakup. It would be interesting to read Slash’s thoughts on what happened, but those are understandably not available here.

Slash is not my favorite book of all time, or even my favorite rock star autobiography (that’s still Life by Keith Richards), but it certainly works well as voyeur porn. We all love stories of rock and roll excess, and Slash delivers that in spades. I would have liked a more in-depth look at how the music was made, especially Appetite for Destruction, but that’s not to be found here. Ultimately, Slash is a definite pick up for any fan of Guns N’ Roses, and should be considered one of the better rock star biographies out there.



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